Even in these times of financial restraint, there are still some things we don’t have to do without. I don’t mean having fun or believing the reason corporate CEOs make millions a year is because they know what they’re doing. That’s all over.
What we still have, even when the world is going to hell in a handbag — and definitely not a Prada — is the chance to behave like civilized human beings.
Good manners matter. They’re what separate us from the animals. That, and being able to get credit
cards. But keeping up on the newest recession etiquette can be a challenge.
How many of us lately have lain awake the night before an important dinner party wondering, “Which fork do I provide for the Spam course?” or “Is it rude to use the phrase ‘disposable income’?”
Help is at hand. Here’s answers to your most commonly-asked recession-etiquette questions:
Dear Anne: I’m having dinner with a former wine snob who has fallen on hard times. What should I say?
Answer: “What interesting wine. 2008 was certainly an excellent year for grapes in Moosanee.” Or “It’s wonderful how you’re trying to conserve cork trees by buying wine in those big plastic jugs.”
Dear Anne: I have a vacation planned at an expensive hotel. Is there some way I can get out of tipping the maid?
A: Sleep on the floor and shower in the lobby fountain.
Dear Anne: My fiancé thinks we should scale down the lavish wedding I planned before the economy tanked, but I say, “You only get married once … or two or three times, tops.” Is there a way to throw a low-cost reception that will still have our guests talking?
A: Pass out KFC snack packs in the church parking lot. Believe me, they’ll talk.
Dear Anne: I’m starting my first job and the dress code is “no jeans.” I can’t afford new clothes. What should I do?
A: This is your chance to be both creative and a stand out. Go through your closet and review what clothes fit this code. For instance, “no jeans” does not mean no leftover prom dress, wet suit or long underwear.
Having good manners will help us weather this recession with élan. And, what’s even better? They’re absolutely free.